Our life on the Shotley peninsular

HARVEST time, with children helping in the fields on the Shotley peninsular, featured in a recent Kindred Spirits with memories from Joyce Wright (nee Coleman), of Westminster Close, who was born at The Corner Shop, Erwarton, in 1937.

David Kindred

HARVEST time, with children helping in the fields on the Shotley peninsular, featured in a recent Kindred Spirits with memories from Joyce Wright (nee Coleman), of Westminster Close, who was born at The Corner Shop, Erwarton, in 1937.

Jill Nunn (nee Webb), of The Street, Shotley, said: “The memories of rural Suffolk in summer days were very interesting. I also spent most of the summer holidays in the harvest fields. I went to school with Joyce Wright. Her oldest sister Doreen was in my class. I remember she never used to like going to school. I was born at the Brickyard, now named Rose Farm Cottages, on May 11, 1935.

“They were 11 small cottages close to the River Stour. The occupants of the cottages were all related except for the Barbers, who lived next door to us. We were about a mile from Shotley Gate, and about three quarters of a mile from The Street and School. We had no electricity or running water, we used to get our water from a well. We had a cooking range, oil lamps and candles for light. We had a tin bath used in front of the fire and the toilet was just outside and we used newspapers for toilet paper.


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“My mum used to do her washing on Mondays. There was a washhouse in the back yard, which was shared with four other families. The washing 'copper' was heated by wood which we picked up on the shore. A baker delivered bread three times week, a coalman and an oil cart used to visit and sell paraffin oil. The milk was delivered by horse and cart. We used to take a jug out and get it filled from a churn on his cart.

“The cost of living was low then, we grew all the vegetables and fruit. My dad used to get mushrooms, chestnuts, watercress, blackberries and wild plums. He used to go shooting, catch rabbits, ducks, pheasants and also went fishing most weekends. We kept chickens so we had plenty of eggs; we went gleaning in the harvest fields when they had cut the corn to feed the chickens.

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“My friend Shirley Deacon, now Mrs Ganderton, spent most of the summer holidays at the Brickyard; she lived at Sutton, Surrey, and came to stay with her grandmother. Shirley married and lived in Shotley for several years, but now she lives in Holland-on-Sea. We still keep in touch and meet up every year; it's lovely to talk about the good old days when we were children.

“My dad was in the army during the Second World War and when the sirens went we used to go to my Auntie Vera's bungalow nearby and a shelter inside like a table with several others. My mum used to say 'As long as I get my head under, it doesn't matter about my bottom.'

“The 1953 East Coast floods were bad and the tide took quite a lot of the path, which was at the front of the cottages. I think it was 1954 when we got a council house and most of us down the Brickyard moved to Kingsland, Shotley. I am still living in Shotley, where I was born.”

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